There’s not much of today left, but if you get a chance pop over to Java’s Bachelor Pad and check out Harlean Carpenter (who is a fiction), the Christmas Cutie for December 5. The photo was taken by yours truly. We weren’t expecting to be honored over there this year, but Christmas came a little bit early. Hooray!
There’s a bunch of fun stuff going on in the Pinup Realm to tell you about, but let’s start with this one: Maskera! Maskera is a superhero who never runs.
The backstory for the project (rather than for the hero herself) is that I shot a series of pictures of Harlean Carpenter (who is a fiction) on a green screen. They came out pretty well, so Harlean then worked her contacts to find a cartoonist to draw some villains and whatnot to match her action poses. Those turned out to be completely awesome.
“I can’t wait to see it in print!” the artist said. Until that moment Miss Carpenter the Fiction had not considered print. But what the heck? We know an awesome printer, and it would be a hoot to make an actual comic book. I will be writing the story, but honestly it’s more about the great poses of Harlean and the whimsical-yet-menacing bad guys of Michael O’Connor. Oh, no! It’s Angry Meteor!
We’re doing this thing through Kickstarter. For those unfamiliar, it’s a system that allows people to pledge support for a project, but only if the project actually happens. So you say, “Hell, yeah! I want a comic! And a poster!” and then if and only if the project meets its goals will you be charged. This means we can make sure we reach a certain threshold before getting a bunch of stuff printed, and it means you kids out there in cyberland can make sure you get your money’s worth.
So hop on over and take a look! It’s sure to be a hoot!
I haven’t mentioned in these pages yet that Harlean Carpenter (who is a fiction) and I are making a magazine. Not some web-zine, either, but a nice, substantial print magazine called The Poetic Pinup Revue. The magazine is large, printed on good, heavy paper, and built to last. As you might guess by the title, it’s a book that juxtaposes beautiful images (that lean toward the pinup genre) and carefully-matched poetry. Harlean painstakingly laid the text into the images so that each enhances the other.
Yes, I am aware that I just took the Post Office to task for encouraging the slaughter of trees. This is the kind of thing paper should be used for. It’s bold, sturdy, and carries the impact that only an 11×17-inch spread can. Some of the pages are simply awesome.
At least, I think they are. My contribution to the Revue was mainly technical, laying out the pages in Adobe Illustrator and for some images tweaking the color balance after converting from RGB to CMYK.
But… did I do it right? Should I have tweaked all the images, not just the ones that didn’t look right onscreen in the .pdf file? Black works a little funny in CMYK; will the images lose their richness and depth on the printed page? Is some awesome photographer out there going to cringe to see her own work poorly reproduced? Or, on the other hand, will the images be so beautifully rendered that we are flooded with submissions for the next issue? There’s really no way to know if I got the colors right until we see the actual magazine sprayed onto dead trees a few days from now.
The first print run had to be of a certain size to be cost-effective. That means each mistake is repeated that many times, but it also means that each gorgeous page will create a whole bunch of smiles and thoughtful expressions. Please, oh please, gods of ink and pulp, let them all be gorgeous.
No matter how it turns out, I’ll be letting you know here. For the lowdown on the magazine itself, swing on by PoeticPinupRevue.com.
Harlean (who is a fiction) has an ambitious shooting schedule set up. There are several magazines asking for submissions for Halloween spreads and contests, and she figures it’s time to get her fictitious face in them.
I am moderately less fictitious, and my role in all this is to take pictures.
Today’s shoot was zombie-themed, and we had a prop brain, of course. Once the serious shooting was done, I experimented a bit on myself, going for over-the-top dramatic lighting and (surprise) a bit of silliness.
What they call low-key lighting, even though the key light is totally dominant.
Hey, there’s a light up above the set, may as well crank it up and take off the diffuser. (“Diffuser” is a fancy word for “piece of paper”.)
The logical conclusion of the sequence, shot with only a light above and behind. I was going for that back-alley distant-streetlight shadow-dwelling hyphen-using brain eater look here.
This was actually the first shot I took. The light doesn’t hit my face right, but I like my expression. So let’s justify putting it here by making it black and white and cropping it down to a head shot.
Harlean Carpenter (who is a fiction) and I have entered photos in a couple of contests this month. One is based on popular votes, while the other… might be, but it’s hard to tell.
First, the Photobucket contest. It’s a Valentine’s sort of thing, featuring happy couples. It’s hard to tell who that shaggy guy is that’s with her, but they sure do make a cute couple. We’ve moved up smartly to 263rd place as of this writing. VOTE NOW! Voting ends tomorrow… unless it doesn’t.
Next, the Pinup Lifestyle contest. The theme this month is “on the phone” and the contest has more entries than ever — some are good, others not-so, but there’s only so many permutations of the same damn pose you can do. I’m happy to say that in this cluttered field my shot of Harlean shines like a beacon of creativity and humor in an otherwise homogeneous field.
You can vote for up to five images in that contest, and there are some others that are pretty good, if variations on the same theme. Depending on where you work, you might want to wait until you get home to look through the entries.
From an execution standpoint, our primitive lights made things particularly challenging for the technicians in the lab on this shoot. Our intrepid editor did an excellent job pulling the photo from the noise, as it were, but soon all this will be changing. Yep, we’re buying gear. Just tonight I got the shipping confirmation on a pair of pretty darn good studio strobes, stands, and those crazy umbrella-things. Light boxes will be following shortly.
I’ve been looking at a lot of professional photography lately, and an amazing amount of it seems pretty damn boring. That’s the great thing about a model like Harlean. As a fiction created to create fiction, she knows the value of a good story. I hope I can master the new equipment and harness it to help her tell her tales.
One thing for sure, I won’t be able to blame the lights anymore.
The holidays are upon us with a vengeance, as Madison Avenue tries to convince America (and the world) that November now qualifies as last-minute when it comes to your gift shopping. (One chain has advertised four Black Friday sales – on Thursdays.)
This is also the most important time for many charities to raise funds, and this year my sweetie and I thought we would help. We recruited Harlean Carpenter and Santa Claus for a photo shoot, fed them sandwiches (although Santa is on a very careful diet these days), and the above image is the result. It turns out that was the very first picture we took, out of well over two hundred. Go figure. It was a fun day, for sure. (Thanks also to Rick Markus for his excellent work with the reflector.)
Now you can share in the Christmasy fun and support two worthy charities at the same time!
You are all familiar with the Salvation Army, and they get a chunk of dough for each pack of cards sold. The other beneficiary is a group called Pinup Angels, who will use the money to send care packages to troops serving overseas.
How you can help:
The first way to help, obviously, is to buy cards. A pack of 20 cards goes for only $15 – a ridiculously low price if you ask me. All we need is a shipping address and an email address. We will bill you though PayPal (no PayPal account is necessary) and send you your cards. It’s easy!
If you’re old-fashioned or the name “PayPal” makes your head rotate 360 degrees, I’m sure we can work out alternate payment, but the system really is pretty seamless these days.
Shipping is free in the US. For Canada, add $1US for the first pack and $0.50US for each additional pack. For European shipments add $3 for the first pack and $0.90 for each additional pack.
The second way to help, the way you can be really, really cool and earn some badly needed karma after all the things you’ve done this year is to help us sell the cards. To be honest, we’re depending on help from all our friends to get word out and flog these things far and wide. So please, please, hit up your co-workers and friends with a light but persistent pitch. Collect email addresses and we will do the rest. (We will never, ever, use the emails collected this way for anything other than billing. There shall be no spam.)
Here’s the link to the official Web site, with contact information and whatnot. Order your super-awesome cards and start feeling good about the holidays.
This month’s photo contest at Pinup Lifestyle includes an entry shot by yours truly once again.
The theme this month is “In the Bathtub”, and we did a location shoot where there is a bathroom large enough to maneuver in. Happily, the bathroom was also very bright, giving me more latitude with shots than I’m used to having, without incurring ridiculous exposure times. Plentiful mirrors improved the light even more, but provided all sorts of challenges when it came to avoiding inadvertent self-portraits. Here’s one of my favorites from the shoot:
That is not the one entered in the contest, however! You’ll have to go visit the contest to see that one. Oh, and hey, while you’re there, go ahead and toss us a vote, why don’t you? There are lots of good entries, so take some time to look around and spend your other four votes. It seems like month-to-month the quality of the entries is steadily rising. I think the quality of my shots is steadily improving, too. Hooray!